Yamaha’s XJR 1300 is proof that, once in a while, major manufacturers pay attention. And get it right. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the iconic street bruiser was re-released this year with a refreshed look and a layout that encourages customization—thanks to the prolific Yard Built program.
Driving the movement is Yamaha’s European product manager, Shun Miyazawa. Shun and his team have now turned their attention to Taiwan, and one of our favorite builders: Rough Crafts‘ Winston Yeh.
Known for his edgy Harley builds, Winston’s trademark aesthetic is tough, dark and menacing. A vibe that the muscular XJR wears well.
“We’ve been privileged to work with the best custom builders in the world,” says Shun, “and builders who are doing something original, pushing boundaries with a distinct style. The ‘Guerilla Four’ is no exception, with the Rough Crafts signature—a sleek, stripped back creation that really stands out.”
It’s one of those rare cases when the PR blurb matches the reality. Winston’s process is collaborative: he kicks off each build by sketching it out digitally, before turning to a trusted network of artisans in Taipei to execute it. And he has an arsenal of Rough Crafts parts at his disposal—bolt-on bits developed and refined over time.
His approach to the XJR 1300 was simple: ramp up the brutality with his signature ‘Guerilla’ look. As with all Yard Built customs, the trick was to leave the frame as unscathed as possible. It’s a look that can be emulated by ‘everyday’ XJR owners.
Winston started by beefing up the front end with a set of Yamaha VMAX forks. Held in place by custom-made triple trees, they’ve been dropped by 100mm and the front brake caliper mount’s been modified to take 11.5-inch discs.
Equally brawny are the wheels: 16×5.0 Roland Sands Design Boss rims, wrapped in chunky Coker Beck tires. Out back, the stock Öhlins rear shocks were stripped, refinished in black and re-assembled.
A new ISR braking system has been installed, and the XJR’s airbox has been replaced by a set of velocity stacks. The exhaust headers are stock, but the silencer is a Rough Crafts creation.
The steel bodywork—from the scalloped tank to the sharp tail section—was fabricated by OneHandMade Customs. And the paint, a typically monochrome Rough Crafts scheme, was executed by Taipei’s top paint shop, Air Runner Custom Paint.
A sprinkling of Rough Crafts parts were added to finish it off. These include foot pegs, handlebars and risers, grips, a headlight grill and a custom fuel cap. And all the instrumentation’s been binned for a super-clean cockpit (and extra attitude).
‘Guerilla Four’ is one of the best Yard Built—and Rough Crafts—bikes that we’ve seen yet. And, in typical Yard Built fashion, a selection of parts from the build will be available for owners to customize their own XJRs.
We reckon the XJR 1300’s popularity just went up a notch.